Family Law Attorney in Columbia, MD

family law attorney columbia mdFamily law issues including divorce, child support, child custody, and property division have a reputation for being emotionally taxing and complex. Our family law attorneys in Columbia, MD are here to debunk that stereotype and make the process as simple as possible for you and your family.

Whether you’re in the middle of a messy divorce or want clarification on Maryland’s property division statutes, Coover Law Firm is here to help. Keep reading to learn more about our specific practice areas, then call us at (410) 553-5042 to discuss your potential case.

Divorce Law

Divorce is a sensitive process. Tensions are high, and separating parties have several high-stakes factors to consider: whom their child will live with, how their property will be divided, and how they’ll afford to live after the divorce.

If you can’t seem to reach an agreement with your spouse, consider seeking help from a family law attorney in Columbia, MD. An experienced lawyer will represent your and your child’s best interests and negotiate a fair and equitable divorce settlement. 

Your family law attorney will help you avoid becoming a financial victim – an all too common fate among unprepared divorcees – and work to get you back on your feet by helping you create a post-divorce financial plan.

Coover Law Firm doesn’t just take your case and forget about you; we’re here for you and your family every step of the way. We’ll engage in as many negotiations or court proceedings as it takes to obtain a favorable outcome. 

Call (410) 553-5042 to speak with a compassionate, dedicated Columbia, MD family lawyer.

Child Custody

When a child’s parents decide to divorce, the most sensitive issue is usually custody. In Maryland, the court has the power to assign legal custody and physical custody, which can be shared jointly by the parents or granted to one parent.

Legal custody pertains to the right of the parent to make decisions regarding their child’s health, education, religion, and general welfare. The court will often grant both parents legal custody if they are on speaking terms.

Physical custody is fairly straightforward – deciding where the child lives and being responsible for their wellbeing (feeding, clothing, and bathing them, etc.). Physical custody is usually shared between the parents – if they can agree on an arrangement. If they can’t, the court will decide how much time the child will spend with each parent.

In child custody cases, it’s best to be proactive and try to work things out between parties before taking the matter to court. Our family law attorneys in Columbia, MD will represent you in mediation or collaborative family settings to reach an agreement, meeting both parent’s needs and providing a framework that nurtures your child’s physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. 

If an agreement cannot be reached through mediation, we’ll take the matter to court, applying the same sensitivity and consideration of your child’s best interests.

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Child Support

Child support is often the most contentious aspect of family law, especially when the divorced or separated parents are not on good terms. However, parents have a legal obligation to support their children until the age of 18 (or when they graduate from high school or turn 19, whichever comes first).

In Maryland, child support is determined using a formula that’s laid out in the Maryland Child Support Guidelines (Maryland Annotated Code). Many factors go into calculating child support, including the number of children, each parent’s pre-tax income, the amount of time that the child spends with each parent, and child-related costs like health insurance and school expenses.

Because child support cases are so sensitive, it’s imperative that you have a knowledgeable family law attorney in Columbia, MD on your side. Our attorney at Coover Law Firm will help negotiate a fair and equitable resolution, taking into account both your and your child’s best interests. 

Coover Law Firm also has the expertise to file legal actions against parents who fail or refuse to pay child support. In addition, our lawyers can help you change or modify the child support order if there has been a “material change in circumstances.” For example, if one parent received a generous raise or if your child suffered an injury and you’ve accumulated hefty medical bills.

Child support can put you in a financial hole if you entrust such a significant process to an inexperienced attorney. Our Columbia, MD family lawyer will prevent financial mistakes, helping you factor in things like inflation, post-divorce financial plans, and your ex’s eligibility for social security benefits, among others. For help with issues concerning child support, call Coover Law Firm at (410) 995-1100.

Paternity

Fathers can play a crucial role in their child’s development and future wellbeing by just being a presence in their lives. But fatherhood can be tricky when the parents aren’t married, or if the mother is unsure who is the father of her child. 

Sometimes, the alleged father denies that the child is his. An experienced family law attorney in Columbia, MD can assist in each of these situations by establishing paternity.

Paternity opens the doors to many benefits for your child. In addition to legally establishing a father-child relationship, paternity grants all rights of a father, including the right to seek custody and visitation. Without established paternity, it’s highly unlikely that the alleged father would be granted these rights. 

Paternity also allows the father to endow the child with important benefits, such as financial support, life insurance, health insurance, and Social Security benefits.

In Maryland, an unmarried father can voluntarily claim their child by signing an Affidavit of Parentage at the time of birth. If the alleged father denies paternity, a lawyer can request genetic testing through the court. An affirmative paternity test allows the court to officially declare the alleged father as the father of the child and can therefore require him to pay child support.

Property Division

During your divorce, you’ll understandably have concerns over how property will be divided with your ex. Maryland follows the statute of “equitable distribution,” meaning the court will divide the estate equally. Here, “equal” does not necessarily mean 50/50.

Instead, the court determines which assets are martial (were purchased during the marriage, excluding third-party inheritances or gifts), determines the value of those assets, and divides the property upon consideration of the monetary and non-monetary contributions of each party to the estate; the economic realities of each party; the length of the marriage, and the reason(s) for divorce. 

It’s important to retain the services of a family law attorney in Columbia, MD to protect your interests and ensure you receive your fair share of the assets purchased during your marriage.

The Howard County family lawyer at Coover Law Firm will conduct an intense financial analysis of your estate during the marriage, including the items purchased and their value. Mr. Coover provides sound, customized advice, steering clients away from emotional attachments to property and instead making rational, well-informed decisions about your finances. 

The purpose of property division is to maximize your finances, not put yourself in a hole by arguing to keep the house that you might not be able to afford.

Resolving Disputes and Helping Families in Columbia, MD

Divorce, child custody, property division – these are all unique areas of family law. However, a common thread unites them: instead of being stressful and demanding, these issues should be straightforward and as painless as possible.

Our family law firm in Columbia, MD will help resolve your dispute and work toward the best possible outcome. Call us today at (410) 553-5042 for a consultation and to get started on your case.

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